Room Blocks

I will say that this more of a PSA than my usual posts. I want to share my experience with this subject so that other brides can learn from it.

I’m not getting married at a hotel, nor am I getting married near a hotel. To be precise, the closest hotel in proximity to my venue is about 35 minutes. Now, this drive is mostly due to the fact the venue is on a mountain, and the hotel, well, isn’t. From the beginning, acquiring a discount rate at the hotel was never really a priority. Around February of this year, I tried to get into contact with the hotel, Harrah’s Rincon (which is part of the Caesar’s family, or vice-versa I suppose). All I got was a bunch of transferred phone calls that kept getting disconnected, and emails that kept getting generic responses. So, I gave up. In May, MOH S volunteered to try to figure it out, since her Mom had been planning on staying there and was interested, too. Since my drama queen of a Dad had declared that he “didn’t want to pay $300/night to stay anywhere” I thought it would be prudent to make sure he had an affordable option.

Somehow, S managed to get a hold of an actual person (something I thought would be impossible). The group sales rep at Harrah’s, Linda, promptly sent over a contract for me to sign. Now, I did my research prior to this, and while contracts were not UNCOMMON, I was looking more for a small courtesy room block as opposed to a large contract room-block, especially since I wasn’t planning on staying there. I emailed my concerns to Linda, most importantly the contradictions in the contract (one clause said I’d need to cover the cost of 37 rooms, the other said any un-booked rooms would be released at the cutoff date), and she assured me that I would not be responsible for 37 rooms, only 10 nights as that is the minimum guarantee to get a room block. I was still somewhat reluctant. However, she persuaded me that with my amount of guests, 10 nights would be easy to obtain. So I signed the contract, something, retrospectively, I should not have done.

In the weeks leading up to our 08/22/2012 cutoff date, I was handed over to Mary, who assured me that people always wait until the last-minute, and we could reserve the rooms in my name, and then transfer them to my guests after the cutoff to avoid me being penalized. Mary was so delightful and helpful. However, the one person who did call prior to the deadline (yes, ONE) had so much trouble, and they didn’t even book her reservation properly! So, I sent an email to Mary, and CC’d Linda, expressing my frustration, to which Linda sent a nasty reply, that honestly convinces me to never work with their hotel chain ever again. Three weeks before the wedding I was still hoping to get my rooms transferred to others so that I didn’t end up with rooms I didn’t need. Two weeks before the wedding, my uncle (one of the few people with a reservation) asked if he could look at the contract. I sent it to him, and he informed me that the contract stated that if the hotel didn’t sell out (yes, SELL OUT) then Mr. B and I would have to pay for any remaining rooms minus 10% attrition. I was so confused and frustrated, especially since that was the portion of the contract I specifically questioned in all of my correspondence.

At this point, Mr. B had to get involved. I couldn’t believe that she had so blatantly lied when I questioned the contract, because if she had clarified the contract for me, the way she did for Mr. B when I asked her, I wouldn’t have signed it. At that point, all we had left to do was cross our fingers that the hotel would sell out (as Linda promised us it would).

Mr. B has officially told me not to sign anything without his approval.

Did you have trouble with getting a room block? Or were you able to get a courtesy block without a contract?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Buffalo

Location:
San Diego, CA
Wedding Date:
September 2012

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comments

  1. Member
    Merelymere 474 posts, Helper bee @ 11:25 am

    Wow. That is INSANE!
    Now, we are getting married in town, so we had several hotels to choose from that were close to our venue, but all of them were roughly the same price. I set up a request for bids through an online website and chose from those. And I narrowed them down SPECIFICALLY using hotels that did not require me to pay a deposit or cover any rooms that were not booked.
    I know I don’t really have to say this, but keep us posted on what happens!!!

  2. Member
    otter 1321 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:26 am

    WAIT! What’s the end to this story!? Did it sell out? I NEED TO KNOW! That’s really incredible though – if the contract itself can’t even make up its mind, how are you supposed to understand it?

  3. Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:30 am

    We had a similar issue. We only blocked 10 rooms and needed a 60% rate, so we needed to fill 6 rooms. We thought that would be no problem due to our massive out-of-town guest population. However, only my parents and one aunt/uncle stayed at the hotel, which was 3 rooms. Fortunately, we didn’t get charged for the other 3 rooms, but I would also encourage others not to sign a contract.

  4. Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:42 am

    Wow, just wow. I hate people who act like that.

  5. Member
    sunhat 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:58 am

    Whoa. This sounds so shady – and their terms are pretty strict! I hope it all turns out ok for you!

  6. Member
    Highness 82 posts, Worker bee @ 12:12 pm

    Mine has a contract and the girl I was working with quit mid way throught planning. However I’m not on the hook for any of the rooms but if people want the discounted rate they have to get it by the closing date or be stuck paying more. I had talked to other people about booking rooms and was told to not give out my CC # before hand so that they couldn’t auto charge the rooms. That sucks that you are on the hook for the rooms.

  7. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 12:26 pm

    This sounds terrible, and shame on them for their awful customer service! We had a ‘contract’ but we made sure we weren’t responsible for any of the rooms, cause you just never know with those things.

  8. Member
    FutureMrsSpencer 526 posts, Busy bee @ 12:44 pm

    That is crazy!! I wasn’t going to block out rooms for our wedding just because of this situation. I was so unaware the the bride and groom would be held responsible for unbooked rooms. My DOC went out and found me a hotel that does the opposite. We booked our rooms and if they are not sold by the date, the rooms go back to the hotel for their regular prices. We also are able to call and get our guests rooms for the group rate. I don’t know why some businesses give such restrictive rules when it comes to weddings.

  9. Member
    buffalo 178 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:09 pm

    @Merelymere: Thankfully no deposit! That was another thing I was against! What website did you use? I don’t need it anymore, but I’m super curious since that would make it SO much easier, and I have a couple other friends getting married soon!
    @Miss Otter: I know right?! And I have a seperate post about the outcome…But seriously, the days leading up to the wedding, I was checking their availability calendar TWICE daily with my fingers crossed!
    @Mrs. Treasure: Since we weren’t too far out of town (like 90 minutes) I figured a good amount of people would drive home, but I definitely thought that 10 rooms would be a piece of cake!
    @Miss Toadstool: I totally agree! I worked in customer service for a long time, and I can’t believe that people treat customers the way that she did!
    @Highness: They had the cut-off date set up, which is why I didn’t understand that part of the contract (the cut-off date DID make sense, the rest, not so much) But the worst part, was that 98% of our communication was ALL via email, but when I needed clarification on the contract…she CALLED me, so of course no paper trail! So frustrating!
    @Mrs. Pony: The bad customer service definitely made the whole situation that much worse!
    @FutureMrsSpencer: That is exactly what I was looking for! And it didn’t make sense to me, because all rooms not booked by the cut-off date were released anyways, and seriously, the group rate was $199, and the week before the wedding they were selling the same rooms for $459! Wouldn’t they PREFER to re-sell the rooms! It’s all craziness if you ask me! I’m glad you got a GOOD room block!

  10. Member
    panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:12 pm

    uuggggggggggggggh. seriously? ugggggggggh. This post makes me not want to do hotel blocks at all. I think I’m just going to let our guests figure it out themselves (but then again, we’re not on a mountain either). =/ I hope it worked itself out!

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Hammock, Guest @ 3:16 pm

    I also had a terrible hotel experience, but for me the contract saved our guests! I got married in a small town in the south, and there were just two hotels. I got married on graduation weekend and we had signed a contract blocking a certain number of rooms. Well, the hotel got sold between the time that we booked the rooms and the wedding, and in the sale the hotel somehow managed to lose all of our reservations. Fortunately, since we had the contract we were able to guarantee that the number of rooms we had blocked were still available to us and our guests because otherwise our guests wouldn’t have had a single place to stay, and many of them flew in from California!

  12. Member
    sarahblais 120 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:41 am

    Luckily, our hotel is holding rooms at a discounted rate ad a courtesy. The only room I had to leave a credit card for is the suite, which is free if we book all 10 rooms in our block.

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Emily, Guest @ 11:47 am

    The hotel I wanted at first wanted to assign rooms via a contract (we would be responsible for at least part of an unrented room block)– i went back and forth for weeks before calling and explaining I wanted to give them my business, but was uncomfortable with the obligation.

    The rep promptly said, lets do a courtesy contract, no obligation included.

    The lesson I learned was sometimes, if you want something, you just have to ask =)

  14. Member
    jacofblues 1468 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:00 am

    We had a problem with one hotel! We were desperate for rooms nearby as we had similar problems where there was nothing near by with any availability. One of the places was available and I was able to book 4 rooms! I was so pleased and relieved. A few days later after I prebooked the owner calls and tell me he cannot accept my booking as there is a minimum two night stay. I angrily informed him I specifically asked this question in which he replied that his daughter was helping him and didn’t know! So he withdrew the booking! I like yourself will NEVER deal with that hotel chain again due to this reason!

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